Round Mr Horne: The Life of Kenneth Horne
When Kenneth Horne died aged sixty-one he was described as 'the last of the truly great radio comics'. In a broadcasting career which spanned more than twenty-five years he starred in three of the most popular radio comedy series of all time - Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne - while for much of that period working full-time as an extremely successful sales executive.
Kenneth Horne left a legacy of laughter that will be enjoyed for many generations to come. In researching this book, Barry Johnston has had the active cooperation of Kenneth's family and friends which has enabled him to reveal the true story of the three marriages, two careers and private unhappiness of the man who brought so much enjoyment to millions.
'Delightful ... when reading Johnston's book one is drawn irresistibly towards a gifted comedian who was
also, rather more importantly, a warm-hearted, thoroughly good man'. The Times
'Barry Johnston's lovingly detailed book is a long overdue tribute to a maestro of the microphone.
If you haven't read this book yet, I envy you. If you have, read it again, it's like a warm bath or
a comfortable armchair - choose your own image.' The Oldie
'Sympathetic and well-researched... Barry Johnston brings the golden age of the wireless nostalgically to life ... Without labouring the psychology, the author presents a rounded portrait that hints at the complexities underneath Horne's genial façade.' Daily Telegraph
'Barry Johnston is especially entertaining when tracing the development of programmes and describing BBC wrangles. His quotations from scripts often made me laugh out loud.' Daily Mail
'This affectionate tribute to Kenneth Horne, the genial father-figure of BBC radio's Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne'. Independent
'Now a new biography reveals the man behind the voice ... In his book, author Barry Johnston deplores the fact that Horne has never been fully recognized as a brilliant comedy performer.' Sunday Express
'A thoroughgoing biography of the man behind Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh and Beyond Our Ken.'
Johnners: The Life of Brian
With his schoolboy humour and his distinctive, cheerful voice, Brian Johnston was a friend to millions of radio listeners and when he died in 1994 at the age of eighty-one, the Daily Telegraph described him as 'the greatest natural broadcaster of them all'.
His remarkable broadcasting career spread over forty-eight years and made him a household name as a cricket commentator and on programmes such as In Town Tonight and Down Your Way. Barry Johnston has had exclusive access to his father's letters and has interviewed dozens of his friends and colleagues. Here is the true story of the man behind the microphone, including his controversial sacking from television and his re-emergence as a much-loved figure on Test Match Special.
‘A beautifully balanced book. It certainly does tell the whole story.’ Test Match Special
‘Johnners is a richly entertaining tribute to one of the pioneers and characters of radio and television broadcasting and will appeal to cricket lovers and non cricket lovers alike … a fascinating insight into life lived to the full and thoroughly enjoyed and reveals the private man behind the public personality.’ Birmingham Post
‘It is peppered with anecdotes which his father would have clearly enjoyed and has a name dropper’s dream list of acquaintances from John F Kennedy and Neville Chamberlain to Denis Compton and Bud Flanagan. Very comprehensive.’ Yorkshire Post
‘Anecdotal evidence of the broadcaster’s beaming zeal for life is crammed between the covers like a Test player’s cricket chest … the book radiates warmth, pride and humanity.
What’s more, it is a rollicking good read.’ York Evening Post
‘A moving biography. It is a wonderful portrait of a full and vigorous life against the backdrop of most of the major events of the 20th century.’ Halifax Evening Courier
‘Moving … This definitive and intimate portrayal is definitely a must-have for
all fans of cricket.’ Devon Today
‘Barry Johnston’s fondly written record of his father’s full life is a must for cricketing enthusiasts and a fitting tribute to a national treasure.’ Kent Messenger
‘In the commentary box at the end of every Test match the commentators vote on the Brian Johnston champagne moment – something extraordinary, memorable, even absurd. It is a fitting monument, as is this respectful, loving book.’ Spectator
‘Johnston manages to steer that fine line of being the guardian of his father’s memory without being sentimental … I found it immensely moving to read of the darker moments which touched the life of the man who has so often lifted me out of my own doldrums with his easy good humour.’ Daily Telegraph